The Red Knight is the primary antagonistic force in the 1991 comedy-drama film The Fisher King. He is a hallucination and manifestation of the character Perry's grief and depression of his wife's murder.
The Fisher King
Jack Lucas is a misanthropic shock jock who sunk into a suicidal despondency after his insensitive and uncomplimentary comments caused an unstable caller to commit mass murder at a bar three years prior. One night on a bender, Jack tries to kill himself but is mistaken for a homeless man by teenage thugs who try to mug him, but is saved by Parry, a deluded homeless man on a quest to find the holy grail, and tries to convince Jack to help him. Jack of course is reluctant but learns that Parry is this way because years earlier his wife was killed in the shooting spree caused by his crazed caller. Parry is also haunted by the Red Knight, who he constantly hallucinates and represents his depression and grief.
It is learned Parry's name is Professor Henry Sagan and he went into a catatonic state for two years and when he emerged he became obsessed with the legend of the Fisher King, an Athurian figure who was on a quest for God to find the Holy Grail. Jack tries to redeem himself by setting Parry up with a shy woman named Lydia, who Parry is smitten with. They eventually fall in love, and when Parry proclaims his love, he once again sees the Red Knight, causing Parry to panic and flee his tormentor. After a chase scene, Parry is attacked by the same kids he saved Jack from. Parry falls into another catatonic state, is found the next morning and put in a hospital.
Jack tries to rebuild his career but is haunted by a guilty conscience so, wearing Parry's clothing, Jack infiltrates the Upper East Side castle of a famous architect and retrieves the "Grail", a simple trophy which Parry believed to be the real Grail. When he brings it to Parry, the catatonia is broken and Parry regains consciousness. Jack also thwarts the suicide of the famous architect by intentionally tripping the alarm when leaving the Upper East Side castle. Lydia comes to visit Parry and finds him and Jack leading a rousing rendition of "How About You?". With both Jack's redemption and Parry being able to overcome his depression, the Red Knight ceased to exist.
- It is tragically ironic that the Red King represents depression as Robin Williams has been suffering from depression his entire life and eventually killed himself.
- The Red Knight has similarities to the Dark Master from Bridge to Terabithia, who technically don't exist but represent the emotional problems of the protagonist and disappear when the problems are overcome. Also in their respective movies, there is an emotional and dramatic scene where they chase down the protagonists.